Cherie Lunghi

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Cherie Lunghi
Born Cherie Mary Lunghi[1]
(1952-04-04) 4 April 1952 (age 63)
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England
Occupation Actress, dancer
Years active 1965-present
Spouse(s) Ralph Lawson (union dissolved; no children)
Children Natalie Lunghi (daughter)

Cherie Mary Lunghi (born 4 April 1952) is an English film, television and theatre actress, well known to British audiences for her starring roles in many TV dramas. Her international fame stems from her role as Guinevere in the 1981 film Excalibur. Her long list of screen, stage and TV credits include football manageress Gabriella Benson in the 1990s television series The Manageress and a series of adverts for Kenco coffee.[2] She also competed in the 2008 series of Strictly Come Dancing.[3] She is the mother of the actress Nathalie Lunghi.

Early life[edit]

Lunghi was born in Nottingham.[4] Her father, Alessandro Lunghi, was Italian,[5] and her mother, Gladys Lee, was English.[6][7] After her father returned to Italy, she was brought up in west London by her mother and her aunts.[8]


Educated at London's Arts Educational School,[9] Lunghi played Hedvig in The Wild Duck and Alice in Alice in Wonderland on BBC radio while still at school. After graduating from Homerton College, Cambridge and London's Central School of Speech and Drama, she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in the late 1970s, taking leading roles such as Perdita, Cordelia and Viola.[9] She left the RSC to pursue a career in film, landing the role of Guinevere in the 1981 film Excalibur.

Lunghi has a daughter, actress Nathalie Lunghi (née Nathalie-Kathleen Mary Lunghi-Joffé), by director Roland Joffé.[5] After the birth of her daughter and the breakdown of her relationship with Joffé[8] she took various short-term parts, including playing the band members' mutual love interest in the music video for Level 42's song "Something About You".

She starred in the 1982 television serial Praying Mantis, based on the book (Les Mantes Religieuses) by Hubert Monteilhet. The thriller co-starred Pinkas Braun, Carmen du Sautoy and Jonathan Pryce. In the mid-1980s she relocated to Los Angeles for eight years, but returned to England to care for her mother. In 1995, Lunghi participated in the BBC adaptation of Edith Wharton's posthumously released novel, The Buccaneers, as Laura Testvalley. She later took on the lead role in football drama The Manageress. As a result, in 1995 she was placed 92nd in the "100 Sexiest Women in the World" by the publishers of FHM magazine. In addition to film and television work, she is perhaps best known for appearing in a long-running advertising campaign on British television for Kenco coffee from the late 1990s onwards.[8]

In 2006 Lunghi appeared on television in Casualty 1906, playing Matron Eva Luckes, and had a recurring guest role in the regular Casualty series as Professor Camille Windsor. In 2013, she narrated some episodes of the BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?.[10]

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

In 2008, she competed in the sixth series of BBC television's Strictly Come Dancing (14-week run), partnered by James Jordan.[11] After her first dance, the Foxtrot on the Ladies Night in Week 2, she scored the highest points of the first two weeks (33). She beat this score with another series best score of 35/40 for the rumba to finish week 4 top of the remaining 12 contestants with an average score of 34/40. The score for her third dance, the American Smooth was an impressive 34 to maintain her average, though she slipped to 31/40 for the Paso Doble, and further to 26/40 on her fifth outing, in the Salsa. She returned to form the following week with a Waltz, scoring 36/40 and was joint first on the leaderboard. She was voted off the competition on 16 November 2008, (Week 9) losing by 3 votes to 1 in the dance-off against model Lisa Snowdon after performing a Cha Cha Cha.[12] In the January/February 2009 Strictly Tour, she danced an American Smooth and a rumba with James Jordan.


Lunghi was briefly married to South African student Ralph Lawson after the pair met while studying at London's Central School of Speech and Drama.[5] The 1975 marriage was one of convenience so that Lawson could remain in the UK. The couple never lived together as man and wife, instead staying in separate digs in Newcastle. Lawson ended up moving back to South Africa two years later anyway to take a new job.[13]


  • Diversion (1980)

Coast to Coast with lenny henry


Selected stage credits[edit]


  1. ^ "Cherie Lunghi". Debrett's. Retrieved 15 September 2014. 
  2. ^ Hardy, Rebecca (5 June 2009). "Cherie Lunghi: Why can't I find a man?". London: Mail Online. Retrieved 9 June 2009. 
  3. ^ Midgley, Neil (18 September 2008). "Cherie Lunghi: Strictly Come Dancing". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 June 2009. 
  4. ^ General Registry Office (GRO) birth records
  5. ^ a b c "Cherie Lunghi: I have 'seduced' so many men". Daily Express. 14 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  6. ^ Barber, Richard (5 June 2003). "A faded alcoholic beauty?". London: Mail Online. Retrieved 17 September 2008. 
  7. ^ Swann, Yvonne (18 March 2004). "'I'm content with myself'". London: Mail Online. Retrieved 7 September 2008. 
  8. ^ a b c Barber, Richard (10 October 2008). "Cherie Lunghi: Strictly single-and loving it!". London: Mail Online. Retrieved 19 November 2008. 
  9. ^ a b Butler, Robert (14 November 1993). "Show People: Scoring a different goal: Cherie Lunghi". London: The Independent. Retrieved 9 June 2009. 
  10. ^ Mullin, Cheryl (24 July 2013). "What's on TV tonight: Who Do You Think You Are?, The Café and Love/Hate". Birmingham Mail (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing stars unveiled". 28 August 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2008. 
  12. ^ "Cherie No More!". Daily Express. 17 November 2008. Retrieved 19 November 2008. 
  13. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing's Cherie Lunghi had sham marriage". 11 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 

External links[edit]